A bride is faced with a considerable number of options when it comes to deciding on her gown.
Internet sellers, mass wedding dress outlets, the high street and independent boutiques all have their place and offer varying experiences and service levels. I can’t speak on the reliability or philosophies of these other shopping experiences, but I can do my very best to educate people on the skills and expertise you will likely encounter if you entrust your bridal gown experience to an independent boutique.
You may have worked out by now, I am super passionate about supporting Independent bridal retail. In a time such as this, when experiences alone can drive and influence our purchasing decisions, yet the big players on the high street are failing to deliver anywhere near the excitement and emotion we desire, it’s here in these small, cosy, specialist and passionate independent boutiques where the real experience lives, and it’s an experience that’s available to all, not just those with thousands to spend.
Boutique wedding dress sample sales are the perfect opportunity to find your dream gown at a fraction of its original price, AND you get to take it away on the day, meaning you don’t have to compromise.
You can still have a personal, intimate and specialist service with people who know their craft all while knowing you got exceptional value for money. Discounts from 30% – 75% being common. You can find big bridal names, including British designers, normally retailing for upwards of £3000 reduced to a fraction of the price just waiting for the right bride.
Conditions of the samples will vary from ‘as new’ to ‘well-loved’.
The team will be able to show you any defects and if and how they could be repaired. Most boutiques should also be able to offer a professional dry clean service too if required, and either offer you an in-house alteration package or several trusted seamstresses who would be able to undertake your fittings. These are all things often forgotten about in the hunt for a bargain but are truly essential to a perfectly-fitting gown, and are what an independent boutique would typically do as standard.
With this in mind, here are my top tips for sample sale shopping in Independent boutiques.
Do your research and know what you are looking for.
Like any other bridal shopping, I would recommend researching the right sample sale for you. Get in touch with the boutiques who stock the designers you like and chat about what’s heading into the sale. If you are not someone who is bothered about a particular label, make sure the styles on offer appeal to you. There is no point booking an appointment wanting a floaty two-piece to find they don’t have any in the sale when you get there.
Be honest and realistic.
Whether you have £500, £1000 or £3000 to spend, whether you are a size 10, 14 or 22 and whether the wedding is next month, next year or if you are still finalising a date, it doesn’t matter. Please don’t be afraid or embarrassed; just be honest with us. Boutiques want to be able to help you to the very best of our ability, and we will likely have options for all scenarios, as long as we know what we are working to. If you are a UK 14 on the high street, it’s safe to assume in a bridal gown you will be a UK 14 or 16. always size up when discussing sizing and check what styles boutiques have in your size if you are worried about choice.
Find out the process.
Once you have decided on a sale event to attend, find out the process. How long will you have to try on gowns, how many can you try, and what assistance will you have? Does the sample sale include accessories such as veils and headwear so you can complete your look all in one go? At our boutiques, brides have a full 90-minute appointment with one-on-one bridal styling during our sample sales, and accessories are also included however the process will vary from boutique to boutique.
Trust me when I say a sample sale is not the place to “start your search” or “get ideas”. Most samples are one-offs, so while it’s not essential that you have already tried dresses on, it is vital you are in a position to actually buy it because if YOU fall in love with it the chances are someone else would too, and it won’t stay around long. Make sure you bring the relevant people with you to the appointment so you can feel confident in the feedback you’ll receive. I recommend no more than three guests, typically to avoid a fraught appointment and a barrage of opinions.
There are some amazing sample sales out there and some unbelievable bargains so do your research, go prepared and come away with a steal all while having the specialist and knowledgeable teams in Independent retail look after you.
The Bridal Collection & The Harrogate Wedding Lounge’s Huge End of Summer Sample Sale
Where: The Bridal Collection, 29 Park Parade, Harrogate, HG1 5AG
When: Friday 6th September – Sunday 8th September By Appointment
Designers – Designers include; Suzanne Neville, Enzoani, Jenny Packham, Maggie Sottero, Ian Stuart, Justin Alexander, Caroline Castigliano and more!
Prices – Gowns from £299 discounts from 25% – 90%
Our exclusive wedding dress sample sale weekend is a fantastic opportunity for brides who are working to a limited timescale or budget for their wedding dress. It includes over 120 gowns from across both of our Harrogate bridal boutiques’. We advise brides to have ideally tried dresses on before attending a sale event or to have a clear understanding of what it is they are looking for in their dream dress. As the sale is a ‘first come first served’ basis, it is for brides who are ready to find their perfect dress at a fantastic price.
The majority of our sample dresses are between a size 10-14, if you have any enquires in regards to the sizes of our samples, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. All appointments are one-to-one with a bridal stylist allowing us to give you the best personal bridal shopping experience.
Our sample sales are hugely popular and always have a waiting list, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
To book an appointment for this exclusive bridal sample sale event or to discuss our sample gowns and sizes please call the boutique on 01423 202029 or email us at email@example.com.
We have just launched a sample outlet page on Instagram to show people a small selection of the samples heading into our sale; you can find it @The_Harrogate_Bridal_Outlet on Instagram. We will be updating it periodically, but this is just a small selection of what we have available.